The last post discussed the decision to train. We talked about tracking results and conducting a needs assessment to determine specifics. Once it is determined that training is needed, the next step is to determine the type of training and who will facilitate it. The first person a business owner thinks of for doing the actual instruction is he. Why? Who knows better what needs to be done than the guy that designed and tracked the problem? The question is does he know how to fix the problem? It is one thing to find the problem, but it can be a whole different thing to correct it.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many problems that the boss can fix with thoughtful and well developed training programs and many can be successfully facilitated by him. But there are just as many that should be conducted by others for various reasons, such as a lack of expertise, time, training skills and organization or for the sake of a new voice or a new way of looking at things. Don’t be afraid of bringing in outside persons to get your point across. Many times it hits home much more effectively than you saying the same thing over and over again.
One more thing about trainers, I mentioned in the last post that your most productive technician may not be your best trainer. He may be the greatest installer in the world but if he can’t relate to the trainee with empathy and patience, he can cause more harm than good. Your best tech is geared and is expected to produce blank amount of quality installs a day. A trainer is geared and expected to produce a quality technician in the least amount of time possible. To do that he cannot be expected to produce and train at the same time. It is obvious that if a trainee is watching a senior tech working to produce, he is not learning how to produce himself. Learning auto glass installation requires doing the work and not watching the work. The more watching he does the longer it will take to learn it and the longer it will take to be productive.
So, how do you deal with new trainees?
- Anticipate your labor needs early.
- Hire to allow for training and development time.
- Pick a trainer that has the skills necessary to relate to the trainee.
- If there is not an in-house trainer, then look outside. It will pay off.
- Utilize vendors to break up internal instruction for a change of pace and voice.
To summarize, I have a few observations that must be understood for success in training an individual to high productivity.
- The longer it takes to train a technician to high productivity, the more revenue is lost.
- A professional trainer is more likely to have success than a non-professional.
- A structured training program will produce a productive employee faster and less costly than a sink or swim method of training.
- Auto glass installation cannot be learned by osmosis. It must be experienced and practiced to be learned.
Ben Franklin said it best, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I will remember. Involve me and I learn.”